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Russia may break contract with France if no Mistral delivery in January — source

The deadline expires in January and after that the contract will be broken or performed, the source in the Russian Defense Ministry says

MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. Russia could cancel its contract with France if Paris fails to hand over the first Mistral helicopter carrier until the end of January, a high-ranking source in Russia’s Defense Ministry told TASS on Wednesday.

Earlier media reports said that Russia has sent an official request to France’s Defense Ministry demanding an explanation why the first Mistral warship, the Vladivostok, was not delivered to Russia.

“Yes, indeed, an official request to France’s Defense Ministry on the failure to deliver the first Mistral must have already been sent,” the source said.

“A three-month deadline which the French have to hand over the helicopter carrier expires in January. Then the contract will be either broken or performed,” the source said.

The source said Russia and France still could make a compromise. “On our part, we will make advances,” he said.

Russia signed a €1.2 billion contract with France in June 2011 on the construction of two Mistral class helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy. The first warship — the Vladivostok — was to be handed over to Russia in autumn 2014, but the French side postponed the delivery citing the conflict in Ukraine.

The second Mistral helicopter carrier — the Sevastopol — was floated out in November. Under the contract, the Russian Fleet is to receive it in 2015.

Another source told TASS earlier that under the contract France was allowed to postpone the delivery of the first Mistral warship for three months, starting from November 1, 2014.

Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said in November Russia would be acting strictly in line with the contract and file a lawsuit if the Mistral warship is not delivered.

France’s penalty may amount to around €3 billion, media reports said. The sum is comprised of the €1.2 billion the contract is worth and a compensation of €800 million for each of Mistrals.